We're now parking on the new lot!It seems like a sea of concrete right now, but one of the recommendations from Viroqua City Council’s traffic study was that we maximize parking to take pressure off the streets of our residential neighborhood.Imagine another island around the utility pole and all three islands with shrubs and perennials. Landscaping is also planned for the north side of the lot along Broadway Street next summer. We’re planning an electric vehicle charging station on the north edge. Center Avenue will remain open through the winter.
The timeline in the right hand column on this page under "Expansion Documents" shows a quick reference of the complexity and details of our expansion project. We are on track to begin building improvements in Spring 2017, but there’s a lot to accomplish before then! We’re inching toward the final plans and scope of the project. Then we assemble the financing package.
Many of you have asked about Preferred Share Cooperative Investments (Class C) and that’s very exciting as we will need to raise owner equity to make the project work. Thanks for your confidence and support as we grow the VFC! Our Board of Directors is preparing a Capital Campaign launch in January 2017. As a VFC owner, look for an invitation in the mail to attend this event and learn about Class C investments.
It’s important to the Co-op that we work with local lenders on the project, but to make that happen we have to get creative with financing. We’ll continue with our status as a USDA Rural Development project, and we are pursuing New Market Tax Credit Program for gap funding.
The City of Viroqua agreed to apply for a Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant on our behalf. The CDI Program supports small city and rural community redevelopment efforts by providing financial incentives for shovel-ready projects with emphasis on downtown, community-driven efforts. Funded activities should lead to measurable benefits in job opportunities, property values, and leveraged investment by local and private partners. We’re a good fit for this grant and have an excellent chance of securing it.
Our primary and secondary loans will be a combination of local and cooperative lending institutions, respectively; the same as when we funded the relocation project in 2005. We’re also working on Focus on Energy programs and other potential USDA grants.
If you are interested in greater detail, attend one of the Board events (see Winter Pea Soup for details), reach out to our Board of Directors on our website, or contact me directly. Watch for more information on the Expansion Updates page of our website.